A variety of commercial antiperspirants (deodorants that inhibit the production of sweat) have come under fire recently for their potentially carcinogenic effects.
While there is much debate surrounding the link between commercial deodorant use and cancer (particularly of the breast), there is still some concerning evidence out there.
Aluminum Salts and Cancer
A new study out of the University of Geneva found that aluminum salts in antiperspirants and deodorants can trigger the growth of breast cancer-causing tumours (1). The study replicated isolated human mammary cells in mice and found that long-term exposure to aluminum salts (the active ingredient in antiperspirants that plugs sweat glands) caused cells to form tumours and spread.
Andre-Pascal Sappino, co-author of the study, compared the use of aluminum salts to asbestos. “Asbestos is cheap, has very attractive industrial potential, and it took 50 years to ban it,” he said to European news outlet The Local. “We hope it doesn’t take so long to ban aluminum salts.”
The vast array of chemicals found in deodorants and antiperspirants should be avoided altogether. If you aren’t putting it in your mouth, you definitely shouldn’t be putting it on your skin. Keep in mind that your skin is one of the largest organs of the body, and whatever you put on it gets absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream.
Is using a commercially produced deodorant worth the risk if there are plenty of healthy alternatives? I think not. Especially when it can be made in under 10 minutes in your own kitchen.
Homemade Natural Deodorant
There are a variety of options for making your own natural deodorant. Some people choose not to use baking soda because they get a rash from it (some people are more sensitive than others). The recipes below will take this into account, so that users can choose whether or not they want a recipe with or without baking soda. Have fun!
Coconut Oil Deodorant
– 6 tbsp. organic coconut oil
– 1/4 cup baking soda
– 1/4 cup arrow root powder
– 10-15 drops lavender essential oil (or any other essential oil of choice)
1. Mix the baking soda and arrowroot powder, and then add the coconut oil and blend the mixture in a blender or food processor until it is about the same consistency and texture as commercial deodorant. You can also hand-whip if you please.
2. Store in a small glass jar. Remember that coconut oil liquifies at 24ºC (76ºF), so if you live somewhere very warm, you might need to stir it up a bit before using.
3. To apply, simply take a small amount and rub it together with your hands to soften it and then rub it into your underarms like a lotion.
Shea Butter Deodorant
For this deodorant, you can use a glass jar, but it would be better if you could use an empty deodorant container, like these ones. That way you can make a lot of deodorant all at once, and you’ll be stocked for years to come! A kitchen scale would also be useful in measuring out grams (or any other type of scale you have that measures in grams).
– 30g coconut oil
– 20g shea butter
– 10g jojoba oil
– 10g beeswax
– 15g arrowroot powder
– 15g diatomaceous earth (food grade)
– 5 drops vitamin E oil
– 20-25 drops essential oils of your choice
1. Put a glass bowl over a pot (with a little bit of water in the pot), so that the bowl fits nicely on top of the pot (or use a double broiler if you have).
2. Put your coconut oil, jojoba oil, shea butter and beeswax into the glass bowl or upper part of the double broiler.
3. Melt on low heat until everything is melted (keep stirring!).
4. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
5. Add arrowroot, diatomaceous earth, vitamin E, and essential oils. Whisk to combine.
6. Pour into your deodorant containers or your glass container. Place somewhere away from lots of movement so that it has time to settle.
If you’re putting the deodorant in a glass jar, you can use your fingers to scoop some out and then apply to your armpits. This recipe is adapted from this blog.
All-Natural Essential Oil Deodorant
This recipe is from The Healthy Maven, and it’s too good to be true!
– 2 1/2 tbsp. unrefined coconut oil
– 2 1/2 tbsp. unrefined shea butter
– 1/4 cup arrowroot flour
– 2 tbsp. baking soda
– 6 drops lavender essential oil
– 6 drops grapefruit essential oil
– 2 drops tea tree essential oil
1. Place coconut oil and shea butter in a glass bowl or jar and place the bowl/jar inside a medium sauce pan.
2. Add water to the saucepan (enough to surround bowl/jar but not to overflow it) and bring up to a boil.
3. As water is heating up, be sure to stir coconut oil and shea butter, and continue to do so until it melts.
4. Once melted, add in arrowroot starch, baking soda and essential oils.
5. Place in a 3 ounce jar and allow to cool at room temp or in the fridge (will harden faster in the fridge) until it has reached a solid state.
6. Cover the lid until use.
7. To use, spoon out a little bit of the mixture and rub between your fingers before applying to your underarms. For hotter days, reapply as needed.
Natural Deodorant Options In Store
If you’re not too keen on making your own deodorant, you can always opt for the natural brands below – I’ve tried them all, and recommend them! They all work fantastically.
Alternatively, you can also use the juice of a lime to spread under your armpits. While this method isn’t for everyone, it has been proven effective by both myself, and many testimonials of others online.